Andy Warhol was at it with his cans of soup, as was Anya Hindmarch with her crisp packet clutch. There’s nothing new about it, but stealing everyday objects to create chic pieces is still amusing. And the latest revival, which heralds bags from the furniture giant Ikea, is no exception in offering hilarity. Usually there to carry our bargain homeware pieces – which we lugged around that one way run of enchantment – Ikea’s scratchy bags have become the centralisation of a new fashion wave.
The blue bags were first taken up by Balenciaga, the French luxury fashion house. The new bag launch shook the internet and caused Ikea to bring out a style guide for identifying a genuine Ikea Frakta bag.
Checks include shaking it, smothering it in dirt, folding it, and inspecting it for the authentic Ikea label. For those less accustomed to these accessories, they should rustle, wipe clean, fold easily, and clearly read ‘Ikea’ on the inside. Maybe it’s this modest approach which encouraged Balenciaga that the Ikea brand was an easy steal.
Interestingly, these handy tips also address just how multifunctional an original Ikea bag is, and also begs the question why we would ever need another bag – let alone a ‘fake’ at a staggering price – for which we could have our own village constructed out of 40p Frakta delights.
The motives behind the Balenciaga bag seem a little confounded. Obviously, it is a creation born out of art and opportunity; however, we can’t ignore that it must also conceal something about consumerism and branding.
Is the fashion house trying to present the importance of sustainability? Maybe forcing its shoppers to spend thousands on the bag isn’t the most moralistic way to do this – but perhaps by not merely ‘giving’ them out at 40p each – Balenciaga is demonstrating that fashion should not be quick.
Nevertheless, it could also be considered that they are portraying the beauty of recycling, with all consumers now proud to parade their real (or fake) Ikea bags.
Furthermore, as Ikea has noted, there are some great features of the budget bag. Gone are the days of the micro bag, where you could barely fit your keys and realistically had to take several other bags to cater for all those items that just wouldn’t fit. We can all laugh at the idea of these bags, but perhaps we should all just be laughing at the old trends and retailers which we humour.
But it doesn’t stop there, as Ikea can now be found on a whole host of fashion garments. Ikea jeans, chokers, shoes, and caps have all been gracing Instagram. Whilst the majority are created by talented fashionistas, there is no denying that the Ikea brand is right on trend. Whether that’s because it overtly denies fashion or because it conveys a deeper political message remains inconclusive.
But perhaps a greater mystery is exactly what Ikea will launch next season. Has it got some new colours brewing in its factory store? Are we going to see an ice blue bag this winter? Or will there be any autumnal tones popping up in its stores or at Fashion Week later this year?
Words: Steph Ryan
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